The pastor and his wife had just come to the church and started a contemporary service, and now they had a band—would I be interested in joining them since I was a musician, the pastor’s wife wondered? I showed up to that first rehearsal and took in everything, offering my opinion and my talents at piano and voice. I had been involved in the band for less than a month when something drastic happened: I had taken over leadership of the band. I was organizing rehearsals, choosing the music, and finding the best way to use the personnel. Even better (or worse?), I wasn’t accepting much advice or input from anyone. Interestingly enough, I had never been in or led a band before—but when I arrived at the band that first day, I had seen something that wasn’t working at its best, and my personality kicked into high gear.
Everyone can pick out a high D in their life: that one decisive, demanding person who will step into a challenge and get the job done. You may know them, but here are a few interesting things to remember about high D’s:
A high D loves a challenge…Per Dr. Mels Carbonell, a D does not work well in an environment where there is not challenge and choice. They need these things to be successful in their careers and their relationships. Challenges present a time for them to put their “doing” to the test. In the case above, God had gifted me to clearly see how to use each person on the team in the best way. I was motivated by the desire to have an excellent worship team where each person was used in a way that brought the team the most benefits. This was a challenge, because I hadn’t been playing with the band for any time—but as my time with them grew, so did the challenge of fitting all the pieces together to create something beautiful for God.
…but be careful, because D’s also may offend others in their efforts to improve a situation. Because D’s are usually demanding task-oriented doers who test and challenge authority, they do not respect leaders who are not strong. They cannot handle when there is a lack of direction and discipline! When I walked into that situation in my church years ago, I sensed that the leadership was not strong, so I stepped up to the plate. But on my way to the batter’s box, I pushed aside several people without thought for their feelings. The band may have been better because of it, but my personal relationships suffered. And personal relationships—especially the areas of love, patience, and kindness—are where the D needs to grow the most.
In conflict…D’s tend to attack and want to be right. This can lead to intense conflicts, especially between two D’s. Perhaps as they mature, D’s will begin to think things through before confronting others! Hopefully, high D’s will begin to embrace the mantra that it is better to be well than to be right. While I am still trying to improve in this area, I personally have found the battle is for my mind more than my mouth! If I can stop the thoughts, I am more likely to stop the action. I also am learning, however, to handle conflict with more sensitivity and compassion, again—two things that D’s tend to struggle with.
Dealing with D’s can be difficult if you don’t know what to expect—and while you can expect demanding, intense, bossy dominance from them, you can also expect them to excel in trying situations and to accomplish every task that is before them, no matter how challenging. Like all of the personality types and blends, D’s have some room for growth, but we are an important part of any team, family, or relationship group. So embrace our pushiness and watch us flourish!
Do you have any D’s in your life? How do you handle their direct dominance?